God's Child, Our Joy

An adoptive family's journey in faith and life

Who’s In Your Network

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When filling out the paperwork for the home study and during our interviews with our social worker, the topic of our support system came up. I understood in theory why they asked us about ours, what would happen if one of us got sick? It’s important to have backup care for Eva.

While that was important to our social worker, I think I missed the point. Raising a child for the first time is an experience like no other. The lack of sleep, changing your schedule to the child’s, trying to find time to do anything, it’s all stressful and exhausting. This is the situation when everything is going GOOD.

Then there’s the day where she can’t keep her food down. The day where she won’t sleep. The day where you pick her up from daycare and she has rash everywhere. Your spouse is there to help with diapers and such, but is just as lost with these new developments.

This is where your support system is important. We have a network of friends and family who have been there to help with those issues. The calming voice that tells you not to make mountains over mole hills. The “I’ve been there” voice that lets us know that our insane problem is in fact insanely common.

Today’s parent doesn’t even have to wait that long for help. A quick note on Facebook and you have a number of people there with support, advice, and recommendations. Don’t use that because it stains their clothes. This brand of diaper fits a taller baby better. Etc.

Your family is the core of the support system. They instilled the values that you use in raising your child. They are the ones who will drop everything to be there when you need them. However, they grew up in a generation that let their babies sleep on the stomachs in drop side cribs and the safety seat you might have had as a baby was a basket with an extra blanket. Your network needs people who have had children recently.

These friends can let you know what newfangled devices are not worth it, like a heated wipes container. They can help fill your clothing gaps, like when she apparently grew an inch overnight and we had only one pajama that fit any more. Our network includes moms getting together to discuss parenting solutions …. or maybe just to be with other adults. This is very underrated in the pre-child planning. Eva may be fantastic, but discussions with her are pretty one sided.

Me : Team USA is playing well today. Kevin Durant needs to shoot the ball more, he has such a sweet shot.

Eva : Oh my gosh! Do you see this ball?! It’s green! What happens when I throw it down? Oh my gosh! It rattles!

Me : Eva (handing the ball back to her), it would be easier to play with this if you didn’t throw it away

Eva : Oh my gosh! Do you see this ball?! It’s green! What happens when I throw it down? Oh my gosh! It rattles!

As an adoptive family, we have other needs that require different members in our network. There are a number of adoptive families in the area, and just recently we had our bi-annual meet up, this time at a park where the kids could play. There is also a support group that meets once a month should we run into any problems that we want to discuss with those that have been there.

Our network is strong, filled with family, friends, those we see at church, our co-workers, and other adoptive families. You never realize how important a strong network is until you need it.

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